3. Adrian Clayborn, defensive end (Patriots)
Keep an eye out on the veteran Adrian Clayborn, as he might not be the best defensive end in the game, but he’s capable of having a big game every once in a while when given the opportunity and this Sunday is going to test the Texans offensive line to start the season.
This will be the start of Clayborn’s eighth season in the league, coming off a season where he had 21 tackles and 9.5 sacks. Here is what is tricky with Clayborn’s stats from last season: in just one game last season, Clayborn collected six of his total sack total, that game coming against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10 when he took advantage of the offensive line situation placed in front of him.
That could be the case this weekend if the Texans don’t double up Clayborn and he gets into a groove, gains momentum and takes over the line of scrimmage against Houston tackles Seantrel Henderson (right tackle) and Julie’n Davenport (left tackle), depending where he plays on the defensive line on a given play.
Houston’s offense allowed 54 sacks in 2017 for a loss of 366 yards, plus they didn’t block for a 1,000-yard rusher. To get off to a confident start this season, the Texans must watch Clayborn and make sure he doesn’t get on a roll and disrupt Deshaun Watson and the rest of the offense, or it could be a very long day.